Government has agreed to pay thousands of dollars in subsidies to Banco Popular for the next few years to ensure banking services are restored on Virgin Gorda.
Premier Andrew Fahie said those payments will be government’s investment in residents.
“I am not ashamed to say, for the next five years — not to exceed $70,000 a year to help defray the expenses — we [will] subsidize the bank in terms of certain operations,” Premier Fahie said during a recent community meeting on Virgin Gorda.
“Those were not small negotiations. Sometimes we were hitting some dead ends,” he noted.
And while referring to detractors who might complain about the amount being paid to the bank in subsidies, the Premier reminded residents that the former NDP administration agreed to pay a vastly larger amount during their controversial BVI Airways deal.
He said: “We have a plane missing for $7.2 million so what is $70,000 to invest in the people of Virgin Gorda? And that’s the maximum as our contribution — our subsidy to make sure that a bank opens in Virgin Gorda.”
Premier Fahie said the subsidy agreement with the banking institution will be reviewed after the five years.
In the meantime, Premier Fahie said talks are also underway on how to get modern banking facilities on the sister islands of Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.
Banco Popular is set to open its new branch on Virgin Gorda by August. It will be offering full-time banking services three days per week.
The island was left without a bank last year after Scotiabank closed its sister island branch to cut costs.
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